Aligning Patient’s Ideas of a Good Life with Medically Indicated Therapies in Geriatric Rehabilitation Using Smart Sensors

Sensors 21 (24):8479 (2021)
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New technologies such as smart sensors improve rehabilitation processes and thereby increase older adults’ capabilities to participate in social life, leading to direct physical and mental health benefits. Wearable smart sensors for home use have the additional advantage of monitoring day-to-day activities and thereby identifying rehabilitation progress and needs. However, identifying and selecting rehabilitation priorities is ethically challenging because physicians, therapists, and caregivers may impose their own personal values leading to paternalism. Therefore, we develop a discussion template consisting of a series of adaptable questions for the patient–physician encounter based on the capability approach. The goal is to improve geriatric rehabilitation and thereby increase participation in social life and well-being. To achieve this goal, we first analyzed what is considered important for participation on basis of the capability approach, human rights, and ethics of care. Second, we conducted an ethical analysis of each of the four identified dimensions of participation: political, economic, socio-cultural, and care. To improve compliance with rehabilitation measures, health professionals must align rehabilitation measures in an open dialogue with the patient’s aspiration for participation in each dimension. A discussion template based on the capability approach allows for a proactive approach in patient information and stimulates a critical assessment of treatment alternatives while reducing the risk of imposing personal values.

Author's Profile

Cristian Timmermann
Universität Augsburg


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